Laminated Floor Installation

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Installing laminate flooring is a do-it-yourself project.
Installing laminate flooring is a do-it-yourself project. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Modern laminate flooring is durable, inexpensive and easy to install. It is a synthetic product made up of fused together layers of fiber board and melamine resin. The final look can be made to resemble hardwood, stone or vinyl. This is done by laminating a photographic layer to the top. Installing laminate flooring is generally a do-it-yourself type project. With a few common carpentry tools and a little time you can have a new floor.

Things You'll Need

  • Foam underlayment
  • Circular saw
  • Table saw
  • Carpenter's square
  • Measuring tape
  • 1/4-inch flooring spacers

Roll out the foam underlayment along the longest section of floor starting in a corner. If you are installing this floor over concrete you will need to cover the floor first in 6 mil plastic moisture barrier to protect it against water that is drawn up into the concrete.

Measure the length of the room perpendicular to the direction you wish to lay the laminate with the measuring tape. Measure the width of the laminate not including the tongue. Divide the length of the room by the width of one board. Remove the decimal point off the answer and multiply that number by the width of the board. Subtract the width of the room from that number. If the answer is less than 2 inches you will need to cut your first row to avoid having the last row of boards be too narrow. If this is necessary, set up the guard on your table saw for a 2-inch cut and trim the number of boards necessary to complete one row. To avoid chipping the laminate cut with the finished side up.

Cut the first plank in the second row to the manufacturer's specifications. This will stagger the joint in the rows. You will need to cut every second row a different length to maintain the staggering.

Put down the first plank in the corner, maintaining 1/4-inch gap from the wall on both sides. This is to allow the floor to expand without buckling. Place 1/4-inch spacers in this gap to maintain the distance from the wall as you work. Fasten the first board of the second row to it by snapping them together. Install the second board in the first row, then the second board in the second row. Work your way to the other side of the room in this fashion. The boards can be snapped together by using a block and hammer to gently tap the connections into place. The block goes against the board and you strike the block with the hammer. Install two 1/4-inch spacers for each board along the length of the wall.

Measure the distance from the last boards in the first and second rows to 1/4-inch from the wall. Cut two boards with the miter saw to these measurements. Install these two boards.

Continue installing rows in this fashion making sure to stagger each row from the last and maintaining a 1/4-inch gap from all walls. Roll out more foam underlayment as you need it. Butt the underlayment seams together but do not overlap them.

For the final row you will need to measure from the last row to 1/4-inch from the wall. Set up your table saw guard to this measurement and cut one board. Double check it is the right width before you cut the rest of the boards required to complete the last row.

Tips & Warnings

  • To cover the gap between the wall and the flooring, nail quarter-round molding to the baseboard.
  • When operating a saw use safety glasses and a dust mask to protect yourself.

References

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